Despite playing very well against the league’s best competition in the middle stages of the 2010 season, the Cleveland Browns entered the 2011 NFL Draft in desperate need of a successful weekend. Mission accomplished I’d say. The big news of course was Cleveland’s trade with the Atlanta Falcons. Scheduled to draft at No. 6, the Browns traded all the way down to No. 27 when the Falcons made an offer they couldn’t refuse — a second and fourth rounder in this year’s draft plus a first and a fourth in 2012. Now, some might disagree about the quality of the players Cleveland ended up drafting, but you can’t deny that Cleveland did itself a big favor by adding the extra picks for both ’11 and ’12.
On Monday, Mike Holmgren joined KJR in his old stomping grounds of Seattle to talk about the past weekend, the big trade with Atlanta, and the Browns decision to move back up to No. 21 to select Phil Taylor.
On the movement on draft night:
“It was a little wild. You know the draft is an exciting time for every city. The lead up is unbelievable. We had the sixth pick in the first round and that’s a very exciting pick for our press and the fans and I think when we traded back initially there was a definite sag in the room, but the deal was so good that I think it’s going to work out just right for us because we got some good players in the draft.”
On the decision to trade back up after first trading down:
“Yeah we used our third round to get back up there for Phil (Taylor). We were going to sit but then Tom Heckert, who runs the draft for us, he got a little nervous so he goes Mike we’ve got to do this so we did it. It was a good thing. We got word from teams after the fact that we were going to lose him. He was not going to get to 27.”
On how the deal came about:
“My Tom, Tom Heckert and Thomas Dimitroff, they have been talking about this a little bit for the last two weeks really. This is the type of trade that doesn’t happen overnight. I had gone to Tom’s office just about every day and we were going over stuff. As we approached the draft he goes I got a deal. Now normally speaking I’m a little conservative and to give up who I was pretty sure we were going to get a great player there, I would come in and bang him pretty good only because I wanted him to be really committed. When he laid it out and explained it it makes all the sense in the world as long as we did a nice job picking the players. After you make a deal if you don’t do a good job picking the players then it was foolish. Heckert is about as good as you can be in this business. I have a lot of confidence in him. He proved it. He did a nice job.”